How to survive a festival: the Newbie guide


Hello Internet, 

I went to Latitude Festival 12th- 15th July. It was my first festival, and a blummin' brilliant experience. Lots of the NTW staff gave me advice for how to survive the mudbath before I went.. I'd like to pass these nuggets of wisdom on to you all, ready for the rest of the festival season. 

Now, I’m not one of those girls who is good with the outside world. I get terrible hayfever, and generally do all I can to avoid mud. I had really been avoiding festivals because of all the nature and mud and stuff, but the brilliant lineup at Latitude convinced me otherwise. So here it is, my FESTIVAL SURVIVAL GUIDE. 

  1. Only pack what you can carry. You know how you think you'll have an opportunity to use that hairdryer? You won't. Take it out of the bag. 
  2. Make friends with the people in nearby tents. We had a lovely french couple to one side, and a group of lads to the other. The lads actually helped us put up our tent, which won them brilliant brownie points. It's nice to be nice. It's also nice to keep and eye on other peoples stuff. Someone you don't recognise going in a neighbours tent? Ask them who they are.. 
  3. TAKE WELLIES. and, for that matter, take some good socks. long thick ones. I raided my dads sock drawer. Dads always have sensible walking socks. 
  4. Gaffa tape. Honestly, I used gaffa tape for so many things. hole in the tent? sorted. ripped your welly? sorted. want to string battery powered fairy lights from the top of your tent? I HAVE THE SOLUTION. 
  5. The showers are okay. honestly. There are various strategies for coping with the communal showers. First off, if you go when they open at 6am, you will have a blissful experience, there were only about 3 other women in there when I did a 6am trip, and the whole place was a freshly cleaned mud free haven. Skip forward to 9am and the place is horrid, overcrowded and muddy. If you must go at this time, take some cheap flipflops to keep the mud off your clean feet in between the journey from the shower to where your wellies are. But really, If you're going to shower, I advise you to get up, shower and go back to bed (stopping off for free yoghurt and granola on the way back to the tent). Benefits of showers include feeling all clean and smug when everyone else is covered in mud, a friend on the last day said "have you been here all weekend? you look so clean." SO MUCH SMUG. 
  6. Wet wipes and that Sanitisation Hand Gel stuff. I actually found those mini packs of 10 handwipes, shoved in my handbag incredibly useful, and Soap and Glory from boots do a really nice smelling Gel which can keep your hands clean (there weren't any washbasins at the latitude loos, everyone used hand gel). 
  7. Print out a schedule before you go, because the programmes cost a tenner, and are dead heavy to carry round. Clashfinder is a good place to go to see all the schedules, and decide what you want to see.  
  8. Don't stick to your schedule. Some of the best stuff is stumbled upon. Go for a wander, I did and I found myself in Hotel Medea in the Outdoor Theatre. Which was BRILLIANT. 
  9. Take a portable battery charger. If you're digitally inclined like me, and couldn't cope with the idea of no phone for a whole 4 days, take a power block. I can recommend this one as being brilliant- it can charge two devices at once, and still has power left two weeks after the festival. Also light enough to shove in your pocket. 
  10. Talk to people. A festival is a great place to get chatting to people, I met some brilliant folk around the theatre/poetry/cabaret tents.. and had some top tips for things to go and see. 

Highlights included: Doctor Brown, Curious Directive and Hotel Medea. and a special mention should be given to Elbow's AV designer for doing something interesting on the live videofeed to the support screens around the stage. 

Do you have any top tips? Leave them below: or send me a message! 

Until next time, enjoy some photos: 

Katherine x

A terrible photo of Elbow's Video Feed

Gorgeous Neon signs were scattered around the festival site. This was a favourite

Silly Headgear is an essential

Birdboxes with hidden projections were scattered around the forest.. lovely to stumble upon

Poetry takeaway was very popular!

A pop up screen in the woods? Interesting idea.. 

All photos by KatherineJewkes on Instagram. 

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Comment by Katherine Jewkes on July 26, 2012 at 8:56

Yes, he is a favourite! Glad you had a good time, what festival is next on your list?

Comment by Justin Teddy Cliffe on July 26, 2012 at 8:40

I saw Doctor Brown too! WAS INCREDIBLE! Love the blog. Lattitude was my first proper festival and I loved it!

Comment by Katherine Jewkes on July 24, 2012 at 17:19

Ah yes, I first saw Doctor Brown at the fringe, and then saw a couple of his Scratches at Battersea Arts Centre this year.. thanks for the link to his Channel 4 stuff! 

Comment by Buddug James Jones on July 24, 2012 at 17:11

Here's his Channel 4 stuff -

Also I love Latitude Festival. Went there couple of years back when Elbow were supporting Sigur Ros. Pure bliss.

Comment by Buddug James Jones on July 24, 2012 at 17:08

Ah! I'm so so glad you saw Doctor Brown! I LOVE that man so much. Too much. Which show did he do there? Have you seen the new stuff he's done with Channel 4? 


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